By Bruce Cochrane
The chair of Manitoba Pork says Canada's ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement will send a strong message to its trading partners that Canada is open for business.
The 12 nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations struck a deal earlier this month and Canada's pork industry is now counting on the federal Parliament to ratify the agreement.
George Matheson, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says it will be a disaster if Canada pulls back from this deal, especially if the U.S. Congress accepts it on behalf of its producers so we don't want to be on the outside looking in.
George Matheson-Manitoba Pork:
I've been advised that the Japanese tariff right now is 4 percent and over the course of 10 years that would be eliminated.
Maybe 4 percent doesn't sound like much but on $1,000,000,000 worth of product 4 percent is $40,000,000 annually so it is a significant amount when you put it that way.
Another participating nation, Vietnam has import tariffs of 27 percent and those would be eliminated over a 9 year period.
So it would be a gradual opening up of these trade corridors and make it easier for us to get product into these countries and be on the same playing field that our competitors, number 1 the U.S. and number 2 the European Union are on and participate fully in all trade with these countries.
Matheson says if Canada ratifies the deal and comes into the TPP as a full participant people will get the impression that Canada is open for business.
He notes we have 35,000,000 people and we produce 25,000,000 hogs so our pork is always going to be exported.
He says, on the world stage, you always want to come across as a player, that you're open for business and that you're ready to reciprocate when it comes to import tariff reductions.